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Charlestown man sues police for false arrest, imprisonment

CHARLESTOWN — A local man in a years-long property dispute with a neighbor has sued members of the Charlestown police department claiming he was “falsely arrested and imprisoned.”

Peter W. Bloomquist, of 17 Cherokee Bend, represented by attorneys Jay Katznelson and Keven A. McKenna, filed the civil lawsuit in Washington County Superior Court last month. The defendants, Charlestown Police Chief Jeffrey S. Allen, retired Chief Jack M Shippee, Lt. Patrick J. McMahon and Sgt. Jamie Quattromani, were served with papers during the last two weeks.

Town attorney Robert Craven said the case was immediately turned over to Charlestown’s insurers, the Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust, as is customary with such actions.

Bloomquist, 58, was charged June 1, 2012, with three misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct after neighbors Cheryl and Bill Dowdell, of 21 Cherokee Bend, complained he displayed an oversized, shiny brass object described by them as a “pornographic sex pig” on his property to annoy them.

They also complained about what has been described as a 5-foot blow-up “naughty nurse doll” and tattered flags. The couple also said their neighbor played loud music and the “Islamic call to prayer” when he was not home. Bloomquist said the music was not unreasonably loud and cites Charlestown patrolmen called to his house as sources in that statement.

Just before a trial was to be held in 4th Division District Court on Aug. 22, 2013, Bloomquist was found not guilty of two of the charges and was given a not-guilty filing on the third. The not-guilty filing meant if he was not convicted of any crime within a year, his record would be expunged. Bloomquist has charged in his lawsuit that he was maliciously prosecuted.

Craven said Bloomquist agreed to abide by conditions including taking down the flags and other so-called offensive items, and a no-contact order in exchange for a filing.

“He keeps going back to the same behavior,” said Craven, indicating the flags were again flown. “He seems to be incapable of conforming to behavior or doesn’t understand. This is a very angry and litigious individual.”

Craven said the charges have been “reincarnated” and reiterated his belief that the situation between neighbors began with a spite fence case that went to the Rhode Island Supreme Court.

The Dowdells assert that what Bloomquist has claimed as his art was meant as retaliation for a zoning decision made by the town more than a decade ago. Bloomquist has denied the allegations, instead indicating he was being unfairly targeted and slandered, causing him damages and the cost of defense for the arrests.

The lawsuit claims the defendants used the criminal process to charge Bloomquist for non-criminal complaints made by neighbors, with an ulterior motive of obtaining a resolution in a civil disagreement.

Bloomquist, who spends several months in Thailand, said Wednesday all he wanted when he purchased the home from his parents was a nice place to stay and instead the situation has turned into a years-long battle in which he — as a part-time resident — is being discriminated against. He said the police have overstepped their authority on many occasions.

The suit does not specify a dollar amount for settlement.

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